Your guide to increasing customer satisfaction index (CSI) and revenue of your car dealership.

5 star review

Consistent customer experience and CSI score in the car dealership

Your customer satisfaction index (CSI) scores directly influence your car dealership profitability. When it comes to customer satisfaction in a car dealership, often two departments, sales, and service, are considered accountable to elevate the satisfaction score.

But it is essential to realize that providing consistent positive experience across all the departments, including the Finance and Insurance (F&I) department, makes the customers happy. In addition, your F&I department is where the customers spend a considerable amount of time in the dealership. Therefore, a partnership between the sales, service, and F&I department is key to improving the car dealership CSI score.

J.D. Power Report Mar 2020

Evidently, the pandemic is interrupting the global supply chains, so parts shortage could become a source of frustration for customers and inevitably affect their overall experience.  As a result, the ability to meet customer expectations for prompt service and repairs will be undermined.

Additionally, the global microchip shortage has impacted the availability and delivery of vehicles and parts. The delay in obtaining what they want is causing a lower satisfaction level in customers. So, this gives you more reasons to focus on how all your departments can work collectively to improve the CSI score for shared profitability.

Before we dive into the impact of all departments on the CSI score, including the F&I department, let us investigate the importance and benefits of the CSI score. 

Why Customer experience is the key to dealers’ profitability:

Quality of experience directly influences CSI:

Customer experience forms the basis of customer satisfaction and, ultimately, the CSI score. Thus, it is needless to say that the quality of experience and convenience they get at your dealership can make or break the deal. Customer satisfaction score not only influences your bottom line but also significantly impacts team morale.

While your dealership may survive with a dissatisfied, single-purchase customer, only the dealers with profound attention to customer satisfaction will thrive. Customer satisfaction is the differentiator between surviving and thriving.

Better experience drives higher sales:

As per Harvard Business Review, customers who get great experience spent 140% more than others who had a poor experience. That means customer’s receptivity to product offerings could be an excellent opportunity for the F&I department, provided your customer had a delightful experience on the sales floor or service drive.

Benefits of creating a culture of partnership between departments:

With that in mind, the F&I department should strive to enhance customer satisfaction further so that your peer’s CSI is not impacted along with the dealership’s profit. It is essential to remember that a properly managed F&I department means an enjoyable buying experience for the customer. In contrast, disregarding a customer-centric approach is a perfect way to lose sales and reduce the prospects of making a second sale.

For this reason, dealerships must create a culture of partnerships between the sales, service, and F&I departments to ensure delivering excellent customer experience. 

How F&I influences the CSI score

Building value for your buyer, focusing on positive lender relationships, and playing by the rules may help keep financing at the dealership and increase customer satisfaction.

Take genuine interest and educate customers about the financing options:

Most people find the financing and insurance complicated and need help understanding the clauses, terms, out-of-pocket costs, and available options. So, taking a genuine interest in understanding customer’s unique situations facilitates providing better solutions.

For instance, F&I Manager can help a customer decide between independent financing or dealership and offering APR matching to simplify their purchasing process and raise satisfaction.

Moreover, a competent F&I Manager helps preserve the rapport sales personnel built with customers and enhances customer’s overall experience.   

Build positive relationships with your current lenders:

Many buyers look for financing options when buying a car. While the consumers can get auto financing from a bank or credit union, it could be cumbersome and perhaps on less favorable terms.

Having a positive relationship with your lenders will enable you to get special financing approved for your customers. In addition, it could significantly help improve your customer’s experience and satisfaction. Consequently, your sales peers could score a higher CSI.

Ways to improve customer satisfaction

1. Time is of utmost importance:

The buying experience should be fast and enjoyable for the customers. Typically, a dissatisfied customer complains about feeling pressured to buy products and long waits, and unnecessary processing and presentation time. You can streamline your processes using multiple digital tools and technology to significantly shorten a customer’s time from entering the dealership to leaving with the newly purchased vehicle. It would drastically enrich their buying experience, thus, improving the CSI score. Furthermore, adopting strategic sales techniques such as choice close can help you close the deals faster

2. Frequently train employees:

Mistakes in the F&I department can cost you more than a sale. It could potentially impact CSI score, reduce loyalty, raise acquisition cost, and severely affect the dealership’s reputation. However, recurrent training has shown proven results in raising employees’ efficiency, increasing CSI score and sales profits.

3. Recognition and appreciation:

You can nurture your employees’ talent to provide a better customer experience. For example, acknowledging positive employee behaviors and gestures could motivate your employees to deliver a ‘wow’ customer experience. Handwritten cards and creating a wall of fame to display employees’ thoughtful efforts are some of the constructive ways to appreciate and empower your teams.

Foster collaboration in sales and F&I departments:

The F&I department can have a greater impact on a customer’s perception of the sales experience along with the credibility of a dealership. Moreover, F&I managers can strengthen relationships with sales and service departments, encouraging ways to work together to assist customers better and at the same time improve CSI. Discussing additional benefits of doing so may be a good idea, especially in commission-based service departments.

Overall, sales, service, and F&I departments are all very different environments. But it is essential to remember that everyone is still part of the same dealership team. Hence, working together with other departments will help everyone do a little better and serve customers better.

PRO Consulting can help you drive customer satisfaction and profitability. We have been in the auto industry for over three decades. We leverage our expertise in supporting the dealers find unique solutions to raise their profits significantly. Get in touch with us to find out how we can help you grow your dealership.